Our coasts are a critical intersection of ecological, social, and economic interests. They are the breeding ground for aquatic plants and animals, the playground for residents and tourists, and the launching ground for shipping, fishing, and resource development projects. In arctic regions, these areas are generally poorly characterized (often due to their sheer size, sparse population and inaccessibility), yet are perhaps the most fragile environment. As such, the arctic coast is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of human activity - particularly accidental chemical spills. Reducing the risk of and/or responding to emergency situations requires a thorough understanding of both the coastal environment, adjacent submerged lands and often the jurisdictional boundaries of stakeholders. In most cases, this effort begins with a mapping program that identifies the land/seabed boundaries and usage, and provides adequate charting for over-water emergency response activities. These observations must be regularly repeated to track ongoing coastal and ecological processes as well as the impacts from episodic events. Whereas small, local site investigations are typically best performed from vessel-mounted sensors, aerial remote sensing techniques are often well suited for regional-scale mapping programs.

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